Pay now, enjoy later

Pay now, enjoy later

Missing your local restaurant, pub or neighbourhood business and wondering how they are going to survive lockdown? There’s a way to help, says Wendy Knowler.

People eating at restaurant / iStock
People eating at restaurant / iStock

Listen to the details here: 

I’m sure I’m not alone in worrying about how the companies which I supported regularly before lockdown, and who can't operate now, are getting on without an income source.

How are they meeting all their financial commitments while on lockdown and will they be able to pick up where they left off?

What if you could give your favourite restaurant or hair salon your custom now, to be redeemed after lockdown?

I’m talking about buying a voucher, valid for three years.

Also read: SA to deploy 73,000 more troops for lockdown

Dineplan, the online restaurant booking site established in 2012, which has 2,000 restaurants registered on its site, has set up Voucher Plan - - which enables consumers to buy vouchers for a particular restaurant for later use.

It’s very similar to an initiative called Lunch Next, which is being used by scores of restaurants in Poland, the Czech Republic, Spain, and Germany.

“You pay now, in return for a better deal in the future, and the cash you provide that business is like life-giving oxygen," says Dineplan co-founder Greg Whitfield.

Consumers have bought 1,300 vouchers so far with a total value of more than R1-million.

Also read: COVID-19 catapults e-learning into the future of education - expert

Many of the restaurants are offering extras in order to sweeten the deal, such as R750 spend for a voucher of R500, or a free bottle of wine.

There is also the option of donating a sum to a particular business, or doing a combination voucher-donation.

But Voucher Plan isn’t only for restaurants - many other businesses have registered on the site as well.

If you don’t find the business you want to support on the site, you could attempt to contact them, via social media, for example, and ask them to register.

Also read: Ramaphosa unveils R500bn injection to combat coronavirus in SA

Dineplan is taking no cut from its Voucher Plan initiative - every cent donated or spent on a voucher goes to the selected business.

While restaurants dominate the Voucher Plan site, many other kinds of businesses are doing so too, from hair salons to dog groomers.

Another platform which has been set up to help businesses - of all kinds - during the lockdown, also via a voucher system, is Say Siyabonga.

Founder Petri Redelinghuys told me he takes 5% of amounts to cover his admin costs and the rest goes to the businesses.

Businesses can go on to the site to register. They will be properly vetted, to weed out the chancers.

Of course, if the restaurant or business doesn’t re-open again post-lockdown, such vouchers will be worthless, so it is a risk for consumers in these extraordinary times.

But such leaps of faith - and the gesture of support - will have a major impact on affected businesses, says Dineplan’s Greg Whitfield.

“Receiving cash now, in the form of a voucher, is at least guaranteeing them business in the future, and one can also assume that all those discounted vouchers are not going to be cashed in immediately, but used over time, meaning that the discount they've given could be spread out over many months and therefore ‘diluted’.

“They really need the support right now.”

READ: What if your warranty expires during lockdown?

Listen to past Consumerwatch shows below:

Contact Wendy

Get in touch with Wendy via her website or her Facebook page. Please note that Wendy is not able to personally respond to every email she receives. If she is able to take up your case, she will contact you directly. Here are other avenues for you to consider.

Show's Stories